DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Groups in Denton and Dallas joined gatherings nationwide Thursday night for a moment of silence prompted by protests in Missouri.
The meetings were peaceful but punctuated by strong statements of concern over police violence.
The effort to hold a national vigil for Michael Brown, the man killed in Missouri, spread quickly on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #NMOS14, for National Moment of Silence.
About 50 people met at Denia Park in Denton, many wearing red and holding red balloons. After a brief minute of quiet, a few shared their own stories of run-ins with police, their concern over the militarization of law enforcement, and ideas on how to stop it.
Several signed letters addressed to the governor and city mayor. The letter noted several prominent cases of men killed by police. It asked for more controls including minimum sentencing for officers convicted of a crime, and the mandatory use of body cameras by officers.
Whitney Bracey organized the event, when she was looking for one to attend locally and couldn’t find one set up. The protests in Missouri reminded her of a friend, she said, who felt victimized by police once during a visit.
“This is all for them,” she said. “Those who we don’t know, those who we do personally know. This is for them. Not just for African Americans but for every race, for every person, no matter who they are.”
After releasing balloons, and raising their hands in the “don’t shoot” fashion used by demonstrators in Ferguson, several in the group expressed a desire to continue the movement beyond the one night.
On the Continental bridge in Dallas, as many as 70 people held signs in silence.
There was no reason, one woman said, for any outbursts here.
“We shouldn’t go and start attacking police officers, but we should let them know that we hold them to a higher standard of conduct and they need to admit it.”
The tide of violence in Ferguson, Missouri may be receding. Thursday night was considered a test to see if a change in police tone and tactic would calm days of unrest. So far it has.
Police and protestors have clashed since Saturday. That’s when an officer shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
The governor of Missouri put state troopers in charge of security. Thursday night the images from the St. Louis area were of troopers and police, not wearing riot gear, mingling with the crowd and shaking hands.
Dallas and Denton were among the more than 90 cities across the country where groups gathered to echo the message of peace.
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